Tips For Having The Best Cocktail Hour

Isn't it every couple's dream to tell them that their wedding was the best ever? Cocktail hour is a great way for your guests to mingle and enjoy each other’s company before sitting down to dinner and the variety of wedding formalities that follow. However, we have seen cocktail hour be the time of the evening where your guests can be the most irritated, which isn't a great start to your reception. When planning the cocktail hour portion of your wedding, please keep the following in mind to keep your guests happy!


There’s a reason why we like to call it cocktail hour, as it's only supposed to be an hour! We’ve noticed that guests are most unhappy at weddings when the cocktail hour is longer than 1 hour. Your guests will get antsy and bored after that hour mark. We know that photos are important but trust us, you will want to keep your guests happy since you've spent so much time and money on the big day… and keeping cocktail hour to just an hour will certainly help!


It’s likely that most of your guests haven’t eaten for a while and will probably be hungry. If you plan on having a full hour for cocktails and mingling, please have hors d’oeuvres available for your guests to eat. Nobody wants to drink on an empty stomach and it will give your guests something to do. 

Cory & Jackie  Wedding Photographers

Cory & Jackie Wedding Photographers


Cocktail tables are a great addition to cocktail hour as it allows guests to mingle and also have a place to set down their drinks and plates. We often get clients who wish to keep the doors between the bar room and the dining room completely closed until after cocktail hour. We understand that you want your guests to truly be wowed when they enter the room; however, not only do our doors have windows so they can all see in, but allowing guests to enter into the dining room during cocktail hour can very uncomfortable for some who eagerly need to sit down. Allowing your guests to mingle in both rooms will also help ease and quicken the transition between cocktail hour and dinner as guests can go ahead and find where their seats are right away.

We are all for keeping the doors closed for the beginning portion of cocktail hour so that your photographer can sneak in there and get pictures of the entire room without any guests in there; however, keep your guests comfort in mind. While the bar room may seem large, it fills up quite quickly when you get 100+ guests in there so that extra space will be appreciated as well.


If you find that you've finished your family photos a bit early, don't be afraid to join your own cocktail hour! You will get to make the most of your reception time and spend more time with the people you love and care about the most. You can still have your grand entrance once everyone has been seated but this will still allow you to mingle a bit more with your guests. Your actual wedding will seem so short, make the most of every minute!